Memory-boosting via Multivitamins?

Image credit: Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty

Multivitamins help prevent memory loss (start time: 8:02) In this week’s  show, How On Earth host/producer Susan Moran interviews Dr. Adam Brickman, a neuropsychologist at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, about a large new study that shows how taking multivitamins can prevent memory loss in older adults. Memory decline is an inevitable, if cruel, component of aging. And there’s been much debate about what interventions can arrest the pace of memory loss. The new study, which Dr. Brickman co-authored, replicated results of a previous study that he led; both found that people age 60 and older who take multivitamin supplements daily can stave off normal age-related memory loss. (The study does not apply to people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.)

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

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The Science of Exercise Recovery

Good To GoAthlete’s Guide to Recovery (starts at 5:39): Colorado is riddled with athletes, many of them incessantly chasing the latest recovery products and services that will enhance their performance — from Gatorade and other ubiquitous sports-recovery drinks, to supplements, to compression boots, to cryochambers, to good old-fashioned massages. How solid is the solid the science behind the multi-million marketing campaigns? Christie Ashwanden, a former pro cyclist, runner and skier, is also the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight, and her new book explores the scientific research, the snake oil, and common sense practices, in the world of exercise recovery. Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery (Norton), was just published today. Christie will also speak about her book tonight at the Boulder Book Store, and tomorrow in Fort Collins at Old Firehouse Books.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Gretchen Wettstein
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Big Waves // Omega 3 Fatty Acids

University of Colorado applied mathematics researchers Mark Ablowitz and Douglas Baldwin stand with photographs of an "x wave" on an Oregon beach.
University of Colorado applied mathematics researchers Mark Ablowitz and Douglas Baldwin with photos of an "X wave" on an Oregon beach.

Big Waves (start time 4:39):  When does one plus one not equal two? When waves behave non-linearly, according to CU researchers Mark Ablowitz and Douglas Baldwin.  The two have been researching how multiple water waves can add together to form a wave with a height much greater than twice the height of either wave. The mathematicians refer to these as X and Y waves, which sounds mathematical but actually just refers to the shape of the wave front as seen looking down on the wave from above. Rather than being rare, these waves are readily observable and may be the reason that some tsunamis are much larger than anticipated.  We spoke yesterday with the pair to find out more about these interesting waves.

Fish Oil Pills (from Wiki Commons)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (start time 14:49): It’s widely accepted that Omega 3 supplements are good for many things, especially your heart, and that fish oil is high in Omega 3. But earlier this month, Greek researchers made a splash with a meta-analysis that concluded that fish oil supplements do not help your heart. They came to this conclusion even though, in their analysis, people taking fish oil pills or eating fish had 9 percent fewer deaths from heart disease and 11 percent fewer heart attacks than people who don’t. Fans of Omega 3 shot many other harpoons into the study, and we look at one of their most compelling complaints – it’s that the amount of Omega 3 that people’s bodies absorb depends on many things, and the Greek scientists did not examine studies that checked Omega 3 fatty acids levels where they count the most. That’s in people’s blood.  To find out more about why blood levels of Omega 3’s might matter, How On Earth’s Shelley Schlender talks with Doug Bibus. Bibus is part of the team that years ago basically discovered Omega 3s. He’s a two-time winner of the American Chemical Society’s Award in Analytical Chemistry.  Bibus says that most Americans have very low levels of Omega 3s, and they’d be healthier if their levels were higher.

Hosts: Beth Bartel, Joel Parker
Beth Bartel
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: 
Susan Moran